About PGE/Enron or
"Oregon law mandates that the sale have public benefit, I don’t see it. Not being Enron is simply not enough."
"Texas Pacific is in it to make money, and they want high returns," she said, "and the quickest way to get that is by selling off
assets and getting out."
"Generally speaking, you like to dance with the girl that brung you, and if you can’t sometimes you have to shoot her."
at FERC have opened the door to deregulation, which will benefit every
user of electricity,” said Harrison. “Competition means
lower prices and better service to customers, whether you’re
a manager of a factory, a small business owner or a residential user
trying to meet every month’s budget. This merger will create
a company committed to being the leader in supplying innovative and
competitively priced electrical service to everyone."
rates immediately dropped for PGE customers once they became Columbia
River PUD customers. Residential customers who had been paying $60.10
a month to PGE for 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity began paying $52.50
"Pilon said PGE needlessly scared people in 1999, sounding alarms about the possibility of skyrocketing rates and power system failures that did not turn out to be true. Now, he said, PGE and PacifiCorp are doing it again.
Both utilities oppose the creation of a people's utility district in Multnomah County.
'The same garbage
that PGE people are pumping now, PGE was pumping out then,' Pilon
had this scheme where Enron would become the non-regulated operator of
this distribution system," Pilon said. "Within a few days petitions
were collected to oppose it."
"Despite our employer’s enthusiasm for deregulation, those
of us who have worked in the electric utility industry over the years have
had serious misgivings about whether a deregulated industry would be able
to provide the kind of reliable service that the nation expects and that
we have taken pride in providing. But we had no idea how unregulated the
industry actually is – and that our employer’s financial dealings
would completely escape any meaningful regulatory scrutiny."
to know what happens when the public takes over a private system? First,
your bills go down. Every time. I'm writing this on Long
Island, where the public recently booted out a private power company bigger
than PGE. The outcome? Every Long Island customer got a $100 refund check
plus a 12 percent cut in rates and a big boost in reliability."
"If you can
pay less to buy your house than you would to rent it, why wouldn't
"Because they are locally controlled, People's Utility Districts are more accessible and responsive to their customers' needs. They are a "not-for-profit" entity, whose cost savings are passed directly to their customers.
The Board of
Directors sets rates based upon the cost of providing service. The Pud's
power supply is generally provided by BPA at rates that are less
than any of Oregon's private utility rates. The PUD passes these lower
rates on to customers. The Board is also responsible for hiring professional
managers and staff to operate the utility."
"You see, that company is scheming--as we speak--to spend a pile of your money. Not on new generation, poles or wires. Not on "green" energy. Nope, PGE is going to give your dough to the propaganda whizzes at the ad firm Gard & Gerber, who will attempt to sweet-talk you into voting against the public takeover of PGE's assets."
"Just how much of
your money are Portland's power players going to need? As much as it
takes to protect themselves. 'We'll spend a million between us,' says
PGE executive vice president Fred Miller, who expects to get crosstown
rival PacifiCorp to split the tab."
fears that Enron intends to use federal bankruptcy law to help Portland
General escape state regulation of its energy rates. A deal with a new
buyer, he contends, could be structured so the assets fall only under
federal regulation, resulting in some $2 billion worth of higher costs
for Oregon ratepayers. Such a sale could come only after a reorganization
plan is approved by the bankruptcy court. Until then, "Enron
has no incentive to sell," Meek says.
"This is a new dynamic -- outside companies owning local utilities," Canon
said. "The question the PUC has to ask is whether we're using Oregon
customers' money to help subsidize the money-losing activities of Enron."
are the people who made Enron possible," says Canon of the creditors,
the largest of which are New York commercial banks. "They didn't
intend to be owners of a regulated utility. Their interest is in getting
as much money out as possible as quickly as possible."
"I've become convinced as a result of those negotiations that they
want PGE customers to be liable for some of their debt," he said. "These
people don't give a hoot about Portland, Oregon. If Enron attempts to do
something to hold Portland ratepayers liable, we do have the power of condemnation
in our toolbox."
"I think they're up to no good," Sten said of Enron's intentions. "But
we need to prove it."
were constructed anticipating that $90 million a year would be paid in
taxes. That wasn't
happening here. Enron was pocketing the money. I wonder why no one at the
PUC stepped in."
have a very good year from an earnings perspective. You've got to have
to pay taxes."
money out of ratepayers in Oregon, offsets it against losses elsewhere
and pockets the money."
"Enron was largely able to avoid federal income taxes with big losses elsewhere in its organization and tax-shelter subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands."
"In the 4½ years
Enron has owned PGE, it has received at least $608 million in profits and
from the Portland utility."
Enron did its best
to "pick PGE clean."
just a journeyman lineman for this outfit, but in my 23 years of experience
working for PGE I have never seen this company treat its employees so
terribly. I've seen a lot of management come and go, but these last few
years since Enron crashed have been the pits."
"Little did those of us working hard every day to make the company
successful know what was going on at the top of Enron," said Bob Vigil,
an electrical machinist working foreman. "We trusted management’s
glowing reports of strong financial growth and opportunity. Then in October,
Enron’s house of mirrors came crashing down."
it's the wrong tactic for a company whose workers lost their 401(k)
in worthless Enron stock. And it's an insult to customers hit with 30
percent and 50 percent power rate increases."
employees have gotten the short end of the stick in the sudden collapse
of this company and we are committed to doing everything we can to help
want to seem as if they were not supportive of the company."
Enron “is a story of people
so shameless and greedy that literally as the bankruptcy papers were being
drawn up, they were still passing what remained of the firm’s cash
out to themselves—$55 million on the last working day before they
filed for Chapter 11.”
“This is an energy company that morphed into a trading company involved in hedge funds and derivatives. It took on substantial risk, created secret off-the-books partnerships and, in effect, cooked the books under the nose of accountants and investors.”
“At the time when executives, board members and other insiders were
selling over $1 billion in stock and profiting handsomely,” Dorgan
said, “employees and investors were being set up to take a financial
Executive Vice President Fred Miller justify accepting retention bonuses
of $400,000 and a performance bonus of $100,000 when so many of his colleagues
have lost their retirement accounts? He protests he's getting less than
what he was promised when Enron bought PGE in 1997."
"According to PGE's annual report, filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, CEO Peggy Fowler took home $979,028 last year. That's nearly 25 percent more than Fowler earned in 2000..."
top lieutenant, Fred Miller, received a similar increase in percentage
terms, taking home $541,102 last year."
"When workers at
Portland General die, there's a little more money to spend on the top
of the Enron subsidiary," the Houston Chronicle writes. "The
utility has bought life insurance policies on the lives of its rank-and-file
where the company is the beneficiary when an employee dies. That money goes for special compensation
and retirement benefits for its top executives and directors."
who got out of Enron, including Harrison and Hirko, did well," Grenley
said. "If you were a long-term investor who held the stock, you
lost practically everything."
various times during 1999 and early 2000, numerous EBS executives and
employees told Rice, Hirko, Yeager and Shelby that the Enron network
was not intelligent, and Enron's press releases and marketing materials
were false and misleading. Despite these warnings, and other negative
information about EBS, Rice, Hirko, Yeager and Shelby failed to correct past
false statements and continued to issue new false statements."
"PGE's own transcripts of telephone
conversations, submitted to federal regulators, show that some of the
raised concerns about questionable transactions, but they did not report
those concerns to authorities."
View numerous quotes that implicate PGE in energy trading fraud.
The following three quotes are among a three-part report on the power trading scandal by Oregon Public Broadcasting's Jeff Brady. A 30-minute RealPlayer audio broadcast is here and OPBs energy trading scandal section is here. Some of the OPB report was also published in the The Business Journal of Portland on July 5, 2002. [link]
"I don't expect traders to know that when they buy or sell from someone that they know the ultimate destination or how it's used. And our research showed that they didn't know that or weren't party to anything with a funny name attached to it."
— PGE Vice-President Fred Miller to OPB during a June 24th interview. One day later, PGE filed with federal regulators transcripts of telephone conversations among PGE, Avista and Enron employees that contradict Miller's statement and show that PGE employees knew fraud was occuring. [link] [RealPlayer at 14:20]
View numerous other quotes that implicate PGE in energy trading fraud.
"An examination of some of the transcripts shows that several PGE employees were aware of some of Enron's questionable trades but did not report them to authorities. In April 2000, transcripts show Enron trader John Forney as in 'Forney's Perpetual Loop' describing to a PGE transmission employee a plan to send power from California to Oregon and then back into California. That practice was part of "the Loop."
One PGE employee called the plan "squirrelly" another told a colleague at a differnt energy trading company "This is a scam and you know it."
people knew that something strange was going on--they really could
a red flag. One of the reasons they may not have
is because Enron is their corporate parent. And that is something, I think,
we'd be really interested to learn more about--whether or not there was
pressure from Enron--direct or indirect--that cause PGE employees to look
the other way."
"Thanks to the flagrant market manipulation in 2000 and 2001, Montana consumers paid rates that were anything but reasonable and just. In this state, businesses closed, jobs were lost and consumers were bilked out of millions".
paid an unacceptably high price for the energy companies' deception,
not just through skyrocketing power bills but in lost jobs and business
opportunities. These lawsuits aim to set that straight."
"I think this
order is a major step toward addressing the manipulation that contributed
to the extraordinary western power crisis," said FERC Commissioner
William Massey. "Profit maximization is not an excuse for market
"We think there's
enough evidence with the Death Star trades and the posting errors to
make an argument that PGE mismanaged that portion of its trading."
"The job of
the commission is to protect ratepayers, not the utility."
"They've gone from a consumer-oriented commission to an anti-consumer
commission in little over a year, and you can lay that right in the lap
of Governor Kitzhaber," he said. "It's very difficult
once a commission loses credibility with consumers to get it back."
"It's sad that state legislators would be looking to protect Enron's
interests at the expense of Oregonians," he said. "I suppose
I shouldn't be surprised at anything coming out of Salem, but this one
is disappointing. Enron is strong enough already, without their help."
lawsuits are so numerous that consumer advocacy groups and public officials
increasingly worried about whether an onslaught of negative rulings could
cripple the utility's finances and force rate increases."
"Any rate increase
with the rate of unemployment we have in Oregon is going to hurt. It's
going to hurt real people; it's going to hurt the recovery."
"Two weeks shy of
a bankruptcy restructuring deadline that's 14 months overdue, Enron
and its loyalists at PGE -- continue to play out the charade that a fresh,
new beginning for PGE is in the works."
"Sources close to the
bankruptcy proceedings warn that Enron creditors are likely to be solely
concerned with squeezing as much money from PGE as possible. If the OpCo
spin-off becomes reality, either PGE or the entire bundle of assets could
then be sold off to a large, multinational energy corporation."
“We had this
hypothesis that the businesses together would be worth more than they
would be separately. The evidence to date," Bienenstock conceded, "doesn't
bear that out."
searching for stability, you're not going to get it through reorganization
and transfer to the creditors."
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